Sunday, 12 August 2012

New Children's Picture Book

My new children's picture book is on the way. Here is a sneak preview of one of the images in my developing book:
I can't wait to see it published in the next few months.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Parenting with Relies – A mixed bag

Welcome to the May 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With or Without Extended Family
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how relatives help or hinder their parenting. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Photo by Suresh Kumar - Butterfly Photography
For 1.5 years, my parenting experiences with extended family have been rich and varied. I have outlined my three strongest viewpoints on the pros and cons of such interactions.

·         Relatives can teach alternatives ways. This could include care of the baby or toddler such as bathing, feeding/nursing, methods of tying cloth nappies and swaddling, and new ways of supporting a child’s development through song and playtime. Most of my baby’s bedtime lullabies were learnt from my own mother.
·         Relatives can provide a support network. When unwell or exhausted, my relatives have provided much relief looking after my little one as well as myself. It is so important for me to be close to them when I need some help. Another plus point is that I have someone to talk to who has already been there themselves. Becoming a parent is a major life event and opens doors of common ground with other parents.
·         Many grandparents/relatives enjoy the experience of a new addition to the family. The continuity of life is beautiful and essential to many – knowing that a part of their spirit will continue to journey though the world. Some also make wonderful homemade clothes for their grandchildren as shown in the picture (the jumper and the warm hat).

·         Parents can be overwhelmed with not only dealing with a new baby, but also with a possessive grandparent/relative. When some people are around they seem to ‘snatch’ every moment to hold your new child. I often found this made me feel quite discontent and left out. When relatives only start to notice your existence ever since you had your baby (never mind the centuries you knew your partner previously) this really annoys me.
·         A relative’s influence on your child can be negative if the raising styles clash with your own. This makes it difficult for a child to accept one style if it gets disregarded and superseded by another. The fuzzing of boundaries makes the child insecure and demanding. Some grandparents appear to feel it is a God-given right to spoil a grandchild – this is something I completely dislike. For me, I feel I spend much time building a wonderful building only for someone else to come along and knock it down.
·         Parents can be made to feel incompetent and frustrated. Sometimes all the well-meaning but poorly expressed advice can really put a pal on one’s feelings of being a capable and adequate parent.  

No parent likes to be made to feel incompetent or errant about their choices of raising kids. Keeping some distance when relatives get too pushy or want their way too strongly is sometimes necessary. I would tell that person my concerns of exactly what was bothering me and why, and hope they do not get offended (but this does happen infrequently to persons who are not accustomed to open communication).
Overall, it is imperative to keep an open mind to benefit from the experiences of relatives/extended family, and ultimately as a parent let others know to respect your own parenting styles through good communication.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Dealing With Unsupportive Grandparents — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, The Pistachio Project tells what to do when your child's grandparents are less than thrilled about your parenting choices.
  • Parenting With Extended Family — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy shares the pros and cons of parenting with extended family...
  • Parental Support for an AP Mama — Meegs at A New Day talks about the invaluable support of her parents in her journey to be an AP mama.
  • Priceless GrandparentsThat Mama Gretchen reflects on her relationship with her priceless Grammy while sharing ways to help children preserve memories of their own special grandparents.
  • Routines Are Meant To Be Broken — Olga at Around The Birthing Ball urges us to see Extended Family as a crucial and necessary link between what children are used to at home and the world at large.
  • It Helps To Have A Village – Even A Small One — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses how she has flourished as a mother due to the support of her parents.
  • The Orange Week — Erika at Cinco de Mommy lets go of some rules when her family finally visits extended family in San Diego.
  • One Size Doesn't Fit All — Kellie at Our Mindful Life realizes that when it comes to family, some like it bigger and some like it smaller.
  • It Takes a Family — Alicia at What's Next can't imagine raising a child without the help of her family.
  • A new foray into family — As someone who never experienced close extended family, Lauren at Hobo Mama wrestles with how to raise her kids — and herself — to restart that type of community.
  • My Mama Rocks! — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment is one lucky Mama to have the support and presence of her own awesome Mama.
  • Embracing Our Extended Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares 7 ideas for nurturing relationships with extended family members.
  • Doing Things Differently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares how parenting her children far away from extended family improved her confidence in her choices.
  • Snapshots of love — Caroline at stoneageparent describes the joys of sharing her young son's life with her own parents.
  • Parenting with Relies – A mixed bagUrsula Ciller shares some of her viewpoints on the pros and cons of parenting with relatives and extended family.
  • Tante and Uncles — How a great adult sibling relationship begets a great relationship with aunt and uncles from Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy.
  • Tips for Traveling With Twins — Megan at the Boho Mama shares some tips for traveling with infant twins (or two or more babies!).
  • Parenting passed through the generations — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about the incredible parenting resource that is her found family, and how she hopes to continue the trend.
  • My Family and My Kids — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders whether she distrusts her family or if she is simply a control freak.
  • Parenting with a Hero — Rachel at Lautaret Bohemiet reminisces about the relationship she shared with her younger brother, and how he now shares that closeness in a relationship with her son.
  • Text/ended Family — Kenna of A Million Tiny Things wishes her family was around for the Easter egg hunt... until she remembers what it's actually like having her family around.
  • Two Kinds of Families — Adrienne at Mommying My Way writes about how her extended family is just as valuable to her mommying as her church family.
  • My 'high-needs' child and 'strangers' — With a 'high-needs' daughter, aNonyMous at Radical Ramblings has had to manage without the help of family or friends, adapting to her daughter's extreme shyness and allowing her to socialise on her own terms.
  • Our Summer Tribe — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger shares a love of her family's summer reunion, her secret to getting the wisdom of the "village" even as she lives 1,000 miles away.
  • My Life Boat {Well, One of Them} — What good is a life boat if you don't get it? Grandparents are a life boat MomeeeZen loves!
  • Dear Children — In an open letter to her children, Laura at Pug in the Kitchen promises to support them as needed in her early days of parenting.
  • Yearning for Tribal Times — Ever had one of those days where everything seems to keep going wrong? Amy at Anktangle recounts one such day and how it inspired her to think about what life must've been like when we lived together in large family units.
  • I don't have a village — Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wishes she had family nearby but appreciates their support and respect.
  • Trouble With MILs-- Ourselves? — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake Half Asleep explains how her arguments with her mother-in-law may have something to do with herself.
  • A Family Apart — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings writes about the challenges, and the benefits, of building a family apart from relatives.
  • First Do No Harm — Zoie at TouchstoneZ asks: How do you write about making different parenting choices than your own family experience without criticizing your parents?
  • Military Family SeparationAmy Willa shares her feelings about being separated from extended family during her military family journey.
  • Forging A Village In The Absence Of One — Luschka from Diary of a First Child writes about the importance of creating a support network, a village, when family isn't an option.
  • Respecting My Sister’s Parenting Decisions — Dionna at Code Name: Mama's sister is guest posting on the many roles she has as an aunt. The most important? She is the named guardian, and she takes that role seriously.
  • Multi-Generational Living: An Exercise in Love, Patience, and Co-Parenting — Boomerang Mama at The Other Baby Book shares her experience of moving back in with Mom and Dad for 7 months, and the unexpected connection that followed.
  • A Heartfelt Letter to Family: Yes, We're Weird, but Please Respect Us Anyway — Sheila of A Living Family sincerely expresses ways she would appreciate her extended family’s support for her and her children, despite their “weird” parenting choices.
  • The nuclear family is insane! — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle is grateful for family support, wishes her Mum lived closer, and feels an intentional community would be the ideal way to raise her children.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Baby bath time and skin care

Welcome to the April 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Personal Care

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles relating to their children's personal care choices.


For bath time I always brew a strong cup of camomile tea to add to baby’s bathwater (two camomile tea bags or two heaped teaspoons of dried camomile flowers steeped for 15 minutes to 2 hours in a cup of boiling water). This is excellent in soothing any skin irritations like insect bites, nail scratches, or nappy rashes. As babies like drinking and slurping their bath water, it is also very good for their digestive system. Our little one loves playing hide and seek with a face washer or watching the water dribble down when she holds it up. She loves to suck the tea bath water through her face washer and play with her rubber ducky in a bath of golden camomile.
At the end of a bath every day, baby gets dried up and massaged with cold pressed organically grown Coconut Oil – babies grow rapidly and this prevents the skin from drying out. For very cold and dry weather when the skin dries out faster (and can leave dry flaky skin on the little one’s arms, legs, or cheeks) I rub the affected areas with Anhydrous Lanoline (pure wool fat). People always comment on her nice skin and these bathing and skin care methods seem to work J.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon April 10 with all the carnival links.)

Sunday, 1 April 2012

My Top 5

Check out
My Reading Addiction's
Best of 2012's 1st Quarter Top 5 BLOG HOP

Here are my Top 5 !

The Gods Among Us (The Divine Masquerade #1) by DC Belton
(Young Adult Fantasy) Brilliantly written fantasy tale about a slave girl named Pallas and her adventures through an unlikely fate.

The Last Tiger by Andrew McDermott
(Children's reading book) An adventurous quest for the tiger cub named Wang to find a magical sanctuary - teaching about extinction, survival, and many other aspects in a fabulous way.

Bilby Moon by Margaret Spurling
(Children's Picture Book) A beautiful tale of how Bilby learns about the cycle of the moon.

 The Legend of the Golden Snail by Graeme Base
(Children's Picture Book) An adventurous tale of how Wilbur experiences the give and take of kindness.

Wild Brother by Mary Pattchet
(Young/Adult Australian fiction) Absolutely spellbinding story about a dingo called Shula.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Motherhood Pride

Sun dog
It is written that pride comes before a fall. This kind of pride, however, translates as a celebration of achievements - not haughty arrogance!

I’m proud of having a little baby daughter who will have a brother or sister in a few months. The journey of parenthood is the one I am most proud of. It is the greatest and most rewarding challenge, and a realization of my full potential as a mother. Children are the greatest treasure of life.

I have also just finished the biggest academic achievement of my life – a PhD in physiology and hormones. This has been a lot of effort both before after my first was born. There were a lot of difficulties, but with understanding supervisors and supportive colleagues I have been able to complete this work. But please, just call me Ursula J

I’m so lucky to have a husband who cares so much about his family. And to have a mum , dad, and sisters who provide a stoic team of support. I am also blessed with an unusual assortment of friends each unique and diverse. So many different countries, so many different beliefs – but one thing is clear, they are all really good people and I’m proud to know them.

Lastly but not least, I’m so happy to have written and illustrated my first children’s picture book which has been dedicated to my children. I’m proud to have sisters (including a twin) who share my enthusiasm for writing and drawing amongst other things. These are some things I’m most proud of.

Would anyone like to share your mother’s pride?

Monday, 19 March 2012

Tuatara – a modern aged dinosaur

Exclusive to New Zealand, Tuatara are the sole survivors of an ancient order of reptiles existent at the time of the dinosaurs millions of years ago. Although looking similar on the outside, tuatara are completely distinct from lizards, but share the ability to ‘lose’ their tails when under attach. The tail then regenerates. They also have a primitive light-sensitive‘third’ eye on the top of their heads which is only apparent in hatchlings – thereafter this gets covered by scales. Tuatara take 15 years (±5) to mature to adulthood. After the male and female join, the eggs take 1 to 1.25 years to be laid, and a further 12 -15 months to hatch. Tuatara are active at temperatures as low as 4ยบC which is much cooler then most other reptiles can tolerate. These reptiles are approximately 45-65 cm long depending on gender, and can live to over 100 years. Pretty amazing. I saw one in Sydney’s Toronga Zoo (pictured).

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Books for young brains

Like a good teacher, an inspirational book is just what will make kids want to learn. I like books that are eduational, they teach something about life and the world, and show how to behave in ways I would want my kids to act. Positive fun stories to engage attention, promote good sleep, or encourage learning about how things work. One of the aspects of life in my book (Crystal's Gallant Adventures: The Mountain Pass Back to Valley Flats) is about having a meaningful role in society. This is shown by the books illustrations, which do not interfere with but rather enhance the story. Many problems stem from people not feeling they have a meaningful part to play in life. Thus it is important, at a young age, to nurture purpose and the diverse roles people can have in society.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

A shooting star

A friend of mine said her grandson, aged 6, absolutley adores my children's picture book featuring the unicorn called Crystal. He wont go to sleep without his mother reading it to him. To hear that feels like I've succeded already! A shooting star transformed into a wish come true :)

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Ordinary People

When ordinary people without overt disabilities fail to understand and treasure differences then they are the one afflicted with a true disability. When my sister and me were in a class we were interested in learning, wanted to achieve, and knew some nuance about something scientific as I was able to answer some question (I don’t even remember the question). In combination with not wearing fashion clothes and being a twin (sitting in the same class), several university teachers labelled us as having Aspergers syndrome. They had come to the wrong conclusion, regardless, even if they had been correct it would have been nicer if they slowed down on the labelling and had enough wits to understand that normality is in difference. They tried very hard to crush us emotionally and academically however we are blooming - blessed with good family and a PhD graduation just around the corner. Difference is what makes people truly unique and special. We are all special and have personal strength and abilities just waiting to be found. I hope you feel special and comfortable just being you.

Saturday, 28 January 2012


Photo by Suresh Kumar - Butterfly Photography
Dragonflies eat mosquitoes. This is a fact that everyone should know. Incredibley fast and manuverable, the dragonfly is the eloquent carnivor of my choice. One researcher found a speed of 97 km/h, wow! They lay their eggs amoungst reeds and lillies in ponds and water holes. The eggs hatch into larvea that emerge from the water to begin the adult life as an insect hunter. No wonder I always saw dozens flying around early mornings and at dusk when the mosquitoes are on the lookout for some grub.